Global Exchange’s Carleen Pickard and fellow climate justice campaigners, environmentalists and social justice advocates from around the world are in Cancun for COP16 where they are attending the La Via Campesina organized alternative forum among other climate events. Today, Irene Florez reports from the Alternative Forum:

In Mexico Walmart is quickly outpacing local abarrotes or grocery stores. Today one can walk 10 blocks in any direction and still be hard pressed to find a store devoted to selling fresh produce. In many cities Walmart has staked out key retail space near downtown urban centers. This helps explain why though sales at U.S. stores have dropped, Walmart maintains profitability. In the last quarter of 2010 Walmart’s international sales grew 9.3 percent to $26.9 billion mainly through their Mexico, Brazil, Japan and China locations.

I’m thinking about this as I attend the alternative climate summit hosted by Via Campesina.

The issues on the table are complex and even more, interrelated. It is not possible to talk about food justice for producers without talking about healthy food access for urban consumers. We cannot talk about food subsidies without being aware that many cannot access healthy un-packaged foods in their ancestral homes.

For many the intertwined nature of struggles is daunting. Here, talks dig right into the water-drop-like impacts of the various multinationals such as Walmart and Bimbo.

What will come out of the Cancun UN Climate talks? What will come out of the alternative forum? I think only signs like “Cambia tu vida, no tu clima” (Change your life, not your climate) can point the way and allow us to remain settled amidst the ominous climate warnings and environmental degradation.

The conclusion here is that the current crisis, global warming, is not a natural phenomenon. It is a result of economic strategies. In this sense surpassing this crisis will be achieved when multiple connected strategies are carried out; strategies that create new structures of power and develop long-term social capital that recuperates social justice histories.

Your thoughts?